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2,862 Tutorials

How to: Set up a website

Register a domain and create a professional site

The economic woes of the past 18 months have been cruel to many people, but the making of others. With the recession coming to an end and a bright new decade ahead, there's no better time to set up a professional-looking website and rake in the cash.

The economic woes of the past 18 months have been cruel to many people, but the making of others. There are many examples of erstwhile employees who, through necessity or because they've sensed an opportunity, have become their own boss.

With the recession coming to an end and a bright new decade ahead, 2010 seems a good time to consider doing the same. Perhaps the least costly way of doing so is to test the waters by setting up a website and giving yourself an instant shop front and means of marketing your embryonic business.

There are some excellent, user-friendly Web 2.0 tools around that can help you quickly set up a site. If you want to share your thoughts online, Blogger and WordPress allow push-button publishing. Third-party web-building software such as Moonfruit allows you to create a professional-looking site quickly and easily, while social networks provide all you need to connect with fellow users. What's more, nearly all these services are free.

Using sites such as Lycos Tripod, you can even enjoy free web space. But if you're serious about setting up a business using the web as a springboard, it's worth spending a modest amount for the additional freedom and flexibility it buys you. Free web space is paid for via onsite advertising over which you have no control; this can create the wrong impression for your site.

If your needs are limited, you can get a reasonable amount of web space and bandwidth for as little as £1.99 per month. The typical startup business, however, will probably be best served by the sort of bandwidth and web space that £5 to £10 will buy.

By creating your own site, rather than relying on third-party software, you're always in control of what appears on it. You can edit it, introduce new tools and, importantly, prevent anything undesirable appearing on your site.

With so many exciting but highly adaptable web tools at your disposal, you'll also be able to create a professional-looking site with little trouble. In fact, there has never been a better time to begin learning the skills needed to become your own webmaster.

Start a website and register a domain

Step 1. Decide between a dedicated web host and a virtual server. The latter costs roughly 10 times more but guarantees a certain memory allocation to your website, improving performance, while its separate OS means your site won't be brought down by another one crashing.

Set up site: Step 1

Step 2. Whichever format you choose to use, the two most important things to take into account after reliability are the amount of disk space available to you and, more significantly, bandwidth. If you run out of the latter you can expect costs to increase.

Set up site: Step 2

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